I got a call today that I have been expecting for a while, but wasn't looking forward to. I learned that my Grandfather, Lee M. 'Ranger' had passed away. Looking back at the memories that I had of him, I thought I'd share some of them, as well as have them recorded for my own children one day. Thinking about the times that we had together, I can certainly say that we had adventures, and I believe that I learned much of my adventure spirit from him.
One of my earliest memories of him is going fishing with him and my father when I was just a little guy when we journeyed to Utah for a visit. Latter, I remember him taking my father and I with him and my great grandfather to the same lake. In retrospect, I wish I knew what an opportunity that was as a boy, to be able to enjoy four generations of my family together, doing something that we enjoyed together. He always took care of his garden and put away food into storage, filling a basement room with jars of food. He put away extra fish and deer meat from the hunt into freezer storage. I believe that I learned my preparedness mentality from his example.
He worked hard, and was one of the strongest people I know. As I grew, I had the opportunity to work beside him as my family built our house, and latter as we worked on an addition to his. I gained a lot of work skills from him, and I am not sure I thanked him properly.
One of my favorite memories of him was how he was one tough SOB. On a country drive, my cousin and I were with him, he saw the train tracks ahead and instead of slowing down, he floored it. The car caught air and I hit my head on the roof of the car. Nice moxie for a gent in his 60's at the time. While working on his house, we were taking a break and turned on the TV to end up watching a WWII movie. Some Japanese officers were drinking Sake, he leaned back in his chair and said, "Ahh, Sake, good stuff." I asked him, "You're not speaking from experience, are you?" in a lighthearted tone. He replyed, "Shut up."
He could cuss like a sailor, and I knew every colorful word in the book by the time I was 10, mostly thanks to him. My younger brother has always been a clean living kind of guy, and was shocked when he heard my grandpa cuss when a driver cut us off on the freeway. In response to my brothers shocked expression, he looked at me in the passenger seat, "Dammit 'Ranger', why didn't you tell your brother I swear?"
I know that my grandfather is in a better place and that I will see him again, because families on earth can be together forever. Despite my grandfathers colorful language, he is a good man, and God needs colorful people. He was too ornery to go willingly, so he needed to be put under for a surgery and have things happen the way they did.